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Occupational exposure limits in Europe and Asia – Continued divergence or global harmonization?
KTH, School of Architecture and the Built Environment (ABE), Philosophy and History of Technology, Philosophy.
KTH, School of Architecture and the Built Environment (ABE), Philosophy and History of Technology, Philosophy.ORCID iD: 0000-0003-3799-4814
KTH, School of Architecture and the Built Environment (ABE), Philosophy and History of Technology, Philosophy.
KTH, School of Architecture and the Built Environment (ABE), Philosophy and History of Technology, Philosophy.ORCID iD: 0000-0003-0071-3919
2011 (English)In: Regulatory toxicology and pharmacology, ISSN 0273-2300, E-ISSN 1096-0295, Vol. 61, no 3, 296-309 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Occupational exposure limits (OELs) are used as a risk management tool aiming at protecting against negative health effects of occupational exposure to harmful substances. The systems of OEL development have not been standardized and divergent outcomes have been reported. However some harmonization processes have been initiated, primarily in Europe. This study investigates the state of harmonization in a global context. The OEL systems of eight Asian and seventeen European organizations are analyzed with respect to similarities and differences in: (1) the system for determining OELs, (2) the selection of substances, and (3) the levels of the OELs. The majority of the investigated organizations declare themselves to have been influenced by the American Conference of Governmental Industrial Hygienists (ACGIH), and in many cases this can be empirically confirmed. The EU harmonization process is reflected in trends towards convergence within the EU. However, comparisons of Asian and European organizations provide no obvious evidence that OELs are becoming globally harmonized.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Elsevier, 2011. Vol. 61, no 3, 296-309 p.
Keyword [en]
ACGIH; Asia; Chemical regulation; Harmonization; Occupational exposure limits; Risk management; The European union
National Category
Environmental Health and Occupational Health
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-47724DOI: 10.1016/j.yrtph.2011.08.011ISI: 000297441700005Scopus ID: 2-s2.0-80855123617OAI: oai:DiVA.org:kth-47724DiVA: diva2:456069
Note

QC 20111114

Available from: 2011-11-11 Created: 2011-11-11 Last updated: 2017-12-08Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. Regulatory tools for managing chemicals risk at the workplace
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Regulatory tools for managing chemicals risk at the workplace
2013 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

This thesis focuses on exacerbating chemicals risk in workplaces under the background of rapid industrialization in developing countries. The overall aim is to investigate the development of regulatory tools which aim at minimizing the health risks from chemical substances in the workplace. The contents of the thesis are divided into three sections: the profile of occupational diseases in China (paper I), occupational exposure limits (paper II and III), and comparison between chemicals regulat ions in Europe and China (paper IV).

Paper I presents an analysis of the development of occupational diseases in China between 2000 and 2010. The number of recorded cases of occupational diseases increased rapidly in China during this period and the majority of cases were attributable to dust and other chemicals exposures. Difficulties in diagnosis and inefficient surveillance are major impediments to the proper identification and mitigation of occupational diseases. Migrant workers are extremely vulnerable to occupational hazards.

Paper II investigates the state of harmonization of OELs between twenty-five OEL systems in Europe and Asia. The majority of the investigated organizations declare themselves to have been influenced by the American Conference of Governmental Industrial Hygienists (ACGIH), and in many cases this can be empirically confirmed. However, large international differences still exist in substance selection and in the level of OELs among organizations.

Paper III explores the setting of risk-based OELs on non-threshold carcinogens. Relatively few agencies set risk-based OELs. Differences exist in policy, both regarding the magnitude of risk considered as tolerable or acceptable and whether a general risk level or case-by-case substance-specific risk levels are determined. In regards to the level of the OELs both differences in science and policy contribute, and it was not possible to determine which has the larger influence.

Paper III explores the setting of risk-based OELs on non-threshold carcinogens. Relatively few agencies set risk-based OELs. Differences exist in policy, both regarding the magnitude of risk considered as tolerable or acceptable and whether a general risk level or case-by-case substance-specific risk levels are determined. In regards to the level of the OELs both differences in science and policy contribute, and it was not possible to determine which has the larger influence.

Paper IV systematically compares the regulation systems for chemicals in the EU and China in terms of substances covered, requirement on information, risk assessment and risk management. It shows that the European and Chinese chemicals legislations are remarkably similar.The differences are larger in terms of substance coverage and data requirements than in terms of risk assessment and management. Substitution of hazardous substances is driven more by updates of the EU regulatory system than of the Chinese system.

 

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Stockholm: KTH Royal Institute of Technology, 2013. x, 38 p.
Series
Theses in Risk and Safety from the Division of Philosophy at the Royal Institute of Technology, ISSN 1654-627X ; 10
Keyword
Occupational Diseases, Chemicals, Carcinogens, Risk Management, Regulatory Toxicology, Occupational Exposure Limits, Chemicals Legislations, Risk Assessment, Acceptable Risk
National Category
Environmental Health and Occupational Health
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-127269 (URN)978-91-7501-856-0 (ISBN)
Public defence
2013-09-30, Kapellet, Brinellvägen 6-8, KTH, Stockholm, 10:00 (English)
Opponent
Supervisors
Note

QC 20130830

Available from: 2013-08-30 Created: 2013-08-28 Last updated: 2013-08-30Bibliographically approved

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